Petticoat Lane Market

Petticoat Lane Market (97)

To capture the real essence of London's East End you needn't bother visiting any museums. Or eating in any restaurants. Or contemplating any monuments. Your destination should be a street known as Petticoat Lane, home to one of the most popular markets in the city. The Petticoat Lane market started up in 1750 and still remains fashionable. 

As a curiosity you should know that the street is officially called Middlesex Street as, in Victorian times, the name Petticoat Lane was abandoned for moral issues. The name petticoat tells us something about the sort of wares that were previously peddled here. As it is often the case, however, the locals still refer to it by its original name.

Looking more like an Oriental bazaar than a European market, its thousand-plus stalls offer just about everything, though the focus is on clothing and accessories. Toys and electronic products are also available at very affordable prices. In the midst of a magnificent commotion, Petticoat Lane Market simultaneously offers a curious blend of authentic cockneys and resident Oriental communities such as Indians and Bengalis.

And here's another curious fact about the name of the market. Legend has it the name didn't originate from the mere sale petticoats, but rather that you could have the petticoats stolen from you at one end of the market only to find them on sale the same day at the other end. No one can say they weren't good at their job...

This area is also home to an important Jewish tradition, which today is reflected above all in the bars and restaurants.

So now you know, if you want to escape the typical tourist trails and pick up a real bargain, especially in brand-name clothing, this is the spot for you. The flea market opens on Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm and the nearest tube station is Liverpool Street. That said, remember that it is a very, very busy market.

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